Birthday Martin Luther King Jr.

King (Martin Luther, Jr.), Birthday

Federal holiday: third Monday in January; birthday: January 15
In 1955 Rosa Parks, a black seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama, refused to obey a bus driver's order to give up her seat to a white male passenger. She was fined $14 for her defiance of the Jim Crow (segregationist) law that required blacks to sit in the rear of buses, and if the bus were crowded, to give up their seat to a white passenger. The incident led to a citywide bus boycott and raised its leader, the young black Baptist minister Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to national prominence.
King went on to establish the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, to win the Nobel Peace Prize, and to play an active role in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. He was in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968, organizing a strike of the city's predominantly black sanitation workers, when he was shot to death at the age of 39 by James Earl Ray.
Martin Luther King Day is a federal holiday, the only one that honors a person who was not a president; federal government offices are closed on that day. It has become a focal point for recognition of African-American history and the American civil rights movement led by Dr. King. It is also a legal holiday in all 50 states, since New Hampshire signed its King holiday legislation into law in 1999. In Alabama it became Martin Luther King and Robert E. Lee's Birthday, observed on the third Monday in January. The same day in Virginia is called Lee-Jackson-King Day, combining Dr. King's birthday with those of Robert E. Lee and Andrew "Stonewall" Jackson ( see also Lee Day, Robert E. and Jackson's Birthday, Andrew). In schools, the day is often observed with special lessons and assembly programs dealing with Dr. King's life and work.
See also Bridge Crossing Jubilee
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc.
449 Auburn Ave. N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30312
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. S.E.
Washington, DC 20540
202-707-5000; fax: 202-707-8366
AAH-2007, p. 298
AmerBkDays-2000, pp. 72, 254
AnnivHol-2000, p. 9
BkHolWrld-1986, Jan 15
DictDays-1988, p. 73
DictWrldRel-1989, p. 407
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PatHols-2006, p. 185
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Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.